Patterson and Fjordbach take victory in eventful wet-dry opener

Patterson and Fjordbach take victory in eventful wet-dry opener
  • High Class Racing time strategy to perfection and use slicks on drying surface to register second win of the season.
  • Patterson and Fjordbach finish over 50 seconds clear of Kox/Atzberger, with Guelinckx and Longin third in Pro-Am.
  • AKF Motorsport and Oliver Freymuth celebrate Am Cup victory on debut in Germany.

Mark Patterson and Anders Fjordbach executed a perfect strategy on slick tyres to win a wet-dry opening Fanatec GT2 European Series race of the weekend (15 May) at Hockenheim.

Starting fourth, the High Class Racing #33 Audi remained there until the pit window opened, changing from wet-compound Pirelli tyres to slicks. Fjordbach’s pace from thereon in was blistering, almost 10 seconds per lap quicker than the #5 Speed Factory Racing Porsche in Michael Vergers’ hands, then Bert Longin after the #81 PK Carsport Audi found a way through.

Another car on slicks, the #23 Reiter Engineering KTM under Peter Kox’s charge for the second stint, made his way past the battling pair in the closing stages of the race to assume the runner-up spot behind Fjordbach, who took the chequered flag some 55.7 seconds clear.

Oliver Freymuth and AKF Motorsport celebrated a maiden victory in the Am Cup on debut, even more special at the German’s home race. Two KTM’s completed the podium in class, first the #24 Reiter Engineering challenger of Kris Rosenbeger and Hans Joachim Stuck, then championship leaders Christoph Ulrich and Christoph Lenz in the #7 for Sportec Motorsport.

Pro-Am: High Class storm to victory but clouds linger

From the start, it was the Guelinckx in the #81 that made a lightning getaway, charging clear of the chasing pack to build a lead of almost 20-seconds to Ulrich, Rusteika and Patterson. The #7 KTM then spun on cold tyres exiting Turn 3, and a big hit for Sehdi Sarmini's #16 True Racing challenger shortly after neccesitated an early safety car intervention, wiping out Guelinckx's advantage.

That delayed the pit window, and Guelinckx only completed one further tour of the 4.5km circuit when racing resumed before pitting and handing over to Longin. Their compensation time ensured Vergers would exit in the net race lead in the #5, with Fjordbach out in third on slicks.

From there, the Dane made rapid progress, before dispatching both cars on the same lap to move into the lead, and then set about building his advantage with a series of blisteringly quick laps, bettering the wet-shod cars by almost 10 seconds on each tour.

As the race wore on, Vergers came under increasing pressure from Longin, before the Audi finally slipped past at the final corner on the inside line to claim second spot with less than 10 minutes left on the clock. Both fell prey to Kox's #23 KTM on slicks late on, and eventually finished third and fourth respectively.

Neither could do anything about Fjordbach, however, with the #33 High Class Racing Audi taking a second victory of the season to open up a clear advantage over fellow Audi challenger #81 atop the Pro-Am standings. The result, however, remains subject to post-race judicial procedures.

The Toro Verde GT Lamborghini endured an eventful run to fifth in class, including a hit with Rosenberger's KTM for David Fairbrother and an off-track excursion for Jordan Witt in the second stint, with the LP Racing #88 Audi of Stephane Ratel and Luca Pirri in sixth.

Am: Debut delight for Freymuth on home soil

The series' first single-driver entry celebrated victory on debut - at his home race no less - as Oliver Freymuth piloted the AKF Motorsport-run Lamborghini to the winner's circle by a comfortable margin over the other Reiter Engineering KTM (#24) of Stuck and Rosenberger.

Points leaders Sportec had looked the pre-race favourites with Ulrich on the front row, but an early spin on cold tyres at Turn 3 sent the #7 KTM on a collision course for a glancing blow with the inside barrier; although the car was able to continue, it left the pair with it all to do from the back.

Initially, Freymuth had Rosenberger on his tail before the aforementioned contact at the Turn 5 hairpin between Fairbrother's Lamborghini and the rear of the KTM. The initial impact looked far heavier, but both cars were able to continue. 

The pit stops spread the lead battle out, with Freymuth amongst the front-runners overall, and the only position change in class thereafter came in the closing stages as Lenz deposed Angerhofer's #23 KTM to put the Sportec-run #7 on the final spot of the rostrum.

The final race of the weekend in Baden-Württemberg gets underway at 14:05 (CET), with live coverage available on SRO's GT World YouTube channel.